Travels with the Sherwood: An overnight near Rockingham

I keep meaning to write this up, then getting lazy.

On Thursday last week (15th December, 2022) Stephen was singing with The Real Sing at Rockingham shopping centre. We decided to have a mini break, staying overnight in the area. A new ‘camping’ site had popped up on Google Maps in Naval Base on the beach. We drove down early enough in the afternoon to have a look at it on our way down to Rockingham. It’s clearly most informal, just parking on the edge of a no through road next to the railway, but looked nice enough that we felt we could stay.

The singing went well. The choir were being paid and sang with small breaks from 6.00 to 8.00 p.m. By the end they sounded a bit tired and the shoppers mostly just pushed through as they were wanting to get home. But, the early part went very well and it showed what a good choir can do, given that they had no accompaniment.

Stephen and I had some food before he started singing. Later I noticed that there were a couple of clothing shops nearby and ducked in to get presents for Stephen and Matt. I felt pleased that it was so easy, given that we were there for two hours anyway.

We then drove north to our camping spot and easily got a slot between two vans. There was even a truck parked overnight along the same fence. As we arrived a freight train was moving nearby, very noisy, but we didn’t hear any overnight.

In the morning many of the vans had left before we even stepped outside
I took this photo in the evening when it was windy and the sea was quite choppy. In the morning it was very calm. There is an amenities block with cold showers and toilets with plastic seats

The morning was sunny and bright and we took our time showering and having breakfast before doing a small walk. Then we drove up to South Beach. It was busy, but we still got a spot away from the cafe where we had a view of the sea. We had hot drinks and a shared French toast. Afterwards we sat on the lawn in the shade until the wind changed to a south westerly and got too cold.

At South Beach

Then it was time to get ready and head to Matt’s place for the annual christmas party. We thought it would be our visit with Matt for the weekend, but as we mostly chatted with other parents (so nice to catch up) we felt a bit guilty. On Sunday we were feeling well rested and I organised taxis so he could come for tea.

On Saturday morning there was a bushfire in the same area where we camped. Although it is fairly industrial there is also quite a lot of bushland, some of which is a national park. How lucky were we that it didn’t happen when we were there!

On Monday when I went to review the camping area it has disappeared off Wikicamps. Vanished! This can happen with informal camping spots. I think we could still stay there, just that it is no longer sort of endorsed by Wikicamps. We’ve been worried that free and cheap sites might disappear due to Wikicamps being now owned by a major caravan park company. But I also think that it is probably wise to keep it discreet. There are a lot of places on Perth beaches where it’s possible to stay overnight where there are no houses overlooking car parks. The rangers seem to tacitly accept it. But, if the sites are advertised they might have to crack down.

We’ve been coping well with the hotter weather so far. When the nights are over 20 degrees we leave the airconditioning on the ‘dehumidify’ setting and are able to sleep under a sheet and cotton blanket. We open up in the morning for fresh air, then put the airconditioning on again when it’s hot. But I’ve also found I’m not bothered too much by spending a bit of time outside in the heat, even the easterlys don’t seem to be really hot and we are getting south westerly breezes in the afternoons.

We just got our new storage box for the back of the van yesterday. It was ready about a month earlier than promised. Unfortunately we probably won’t get it put on in time for our Albany trip. It’s quite tiny compared with the other illegal one but it can hold some essentials. We tested this as soon as we got it home. I rang Ken Peachey Caravans, but they are on leave from today until about the 9th January. We will be on our way fairly soon after Christmas, so it will have to wait until we get back.

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